London, June 8 (ANI): A British scientist has rubbished criticism of the Adidas Jabulani ball by England goalkeeper David James and Italian striker Giampaolo Pazzini, saying it is the most stable and precise football ever made.
If the ball goes off target more often it is not because it is unpredictable, but because it travels five per cent faster, according to Andy Harland, a sports technologist at Loughborough University who led the aerodynamic testing and design of the football.
The ball's greater pace meant that small changes in the striking angle could translate into bigger differences in the final placement of the ball, he said yesterday.
The effect was likely to be exaggerated at high altitudes, where balls travel even faster.
With experience, however, players may be able to use the additional sensitivity to their advantage, he added.
"Footballers should be rewarded for their skill by a ball that responds uniformly," Dr Harland said.
The Jabulani - meaning "rejoice" in Zulu - has attracted a storm of criticism from strikers and goalkeepers since it was unveiled last month.
However, robotic wind tunnel testing of the ball showed it to be significantly less prone to aerodynamic instabilities, according to the Loughborough University team.
The ball comprises eight thermally bonded panels, down from 14 in the last World Cup. The panels are moulded from a polythene casing and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam and surface of the ball is textured with grooves intended to improve the ball's aerodynamics and decrease "wobble".
It is the first official World Cup ball not to feature hand stitching. (ANI)